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President Aliyev Tours Aghdam amid Ongoing Reconstruction

By Yaver Kazimbeyli December 25, 2023

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President Ilham Aliyev in Aghdam, Azerbaijan, December 24, 2023 / President.Az

Last week, President Ilham Aliyev celebrated his birthday in the recently liberated Aghdam, an Azerbaijani district that currently undergoing extensive reconstruction following 27 years of Armenian occupation.

During the president’s visit to Aghdam, key highlights included the inauguration of the “Aghdam” junction substation, the laying of the foundation stone for the 5th residential complex designed for 1,115 apartments to accommodate former internally displaced persons, and the groundbreaking ceremony for the 4th residential complex comprising 1,080 apartments.

In addition, President Aliyev toured the reconstruction site of the 18th-century Imarat Royal Complex of the Karabakh Khans, initiated the construction of Central Park on a 5-hectare territory, inspected the 189.7 kilometers long internal roads, broke the ground for the villages of Giyasli, Salahli Kangarli, and Bash Garvand, as well as inaugurated the renovated Khachinchay Water Reservoir and opened the Barda-Aghdam highway.

A significant part of Aghdam, including the city and 89 villages, comprising about 73 percent of the district’s territory, was occupied by Armenia’s armed forces during the First Karabakh War that lasted until 1994. A small number of villages in the district remained under Azerbaijan’s control. About 6,000 residents of the district were killed, and 126,000 were forcibly displaced in the wake of Armenia’s attack. During almost 30 years of occupation, Armenians destroyed almost the entire infrastructure of the district.

In 2020, Azerbaijan liberated a significant part of the occupied territories during a 44-day-long war that erupted following Armenian armed provocations. As a result of counter-offensive measures by the armed forces of Azerbaijan, the country regained control over around 300 settlements and unnamed strategic heights in the Karabakh (Garabagh) region, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha. On November 10, 2020, a tripartite statement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia ceased hostilities. The document obliged Armenia to return the occupied districts of Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin to Azerbaijan by December 1. Aghdam became the first Azerbaijani district liberated under the clauses of the legally binding document.

Following the 44-day war, Aghdam has been a focal point for extensive reconstruction initiated by the Azerbaijani government. This rehabilitation endeavor is part of the ongoing comprehensive reconstruction initiative encompassing the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Post-reconstruction, Aghdam is anticipated to regain its original appearance and welcome back its residents.

As part of the overarching reconstruction initiative, Azerbaijan embarked on the construction of the Aghdam Industrial Park in August 2022, spanning an area of 190 hectares (470 acres). The park includes social and technical zones, incorporating sectors such as food production, light industry, services, and extensive industrial enterprises. It will additionally include facilities for building material sales and a vehicle park.

The roadmap for the Industrial Park entails the establishment of enterprises engaged in producing building materials, meat and dairy products, wines, feeds, and fertilizers, as well as the packaging of agricultural produce and the production of canned fruits and vegetables. Azerbaijan has invested around AZN 12 million ($7 million) in the phased development of the Aghdam Industrial Park since 2021. A total of 19 residents and 6 non-residents have been registered as of November 2023.